GREEN BAY - The Obama administration said Friday that two more states, Washington and Wisconsin, will be exempted from many requirements of the federal "No Child Left Behind" education law.
The decision brings to 26 the number of states granted waivers as Congress remains at a stalemate regarding an overhaul to former President George W. Bush's signature accomplishment. With more than half of the states now free from many of the law's requirements, there are questions about the future of No Child Left Behind.
The U.S. Department of Education says it has approved flexibility from the No Child Left Behind regulations in exchange for Wisconsin's state-developed plans.
"So many states have stepped up and joined what has become a nationwide bi-partisan movement led by the states toward the next generation of education reforms," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, via a conference call with the media on Friday.
So what does that mean for Wisconsin schools?
State Superintendent Tony Evers issued this written statement: "Wisconsin's NCLB waiver is an ambitious education reform package. We are setting higher expectations for students, educators, and schools with a clear focus on our graduates being college and career ready."
Evers says the reform agenda will be based on: college and career ready expectations, increased academic rigor and a "multiple measures" approach to school assessment.
Over the next two years, proficiency level on the state tests will be raised to a level equivalent with that of the National Assessment of Educational Progress exam.
Schools will be ranked in one of five categories based on a continuum of progress. That will determine how much intervention the school receives.
We called roughly a dozen local school districts Friday. No one was available for comment on the waiver.
Though not always political allies, Governor Scott Walker says he's worked with Evers to create this new system in the state.
Friday he issued this statement: "This waiver puts more power in the hands of Wisconsin's parents, educators, and elected officials to determine what is best for students in each community."
Both Evers and Walker say they look forward to working towards higher standards of education in the state.
The state Department of Public Instruction says it submitted the waiver request in February. It has worked with the federal education department since mid-April on specifics of the plan.
FOX 11 also reached out to local education unions. They said they hadn't read the waiver yet, and did not feel comfortable commenting.
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